Former Panelists of Women Rocking Hollywood

Nisha Ganatra

Nisha Ganatra is a Golden Globe winner and an Emmy nominee for her work as the Director/Producer for Transparent. She is currently in post-production on her film, The High Note, for Focus Features starring Dakota Johnson and Tracee Ellis Ross with Working Title producing. Nisha most recently directed the film Late Night, starring Emma Thompson and Mindy Kaling, which premiered at Sundance, sold to Amazon in a record-breaking deal, and garnered the highest streaming numbers of 2019. Nisha's acclaimed début feature, Chutney Popcorn with Jill Hennessy and Sakina Jaffrey, won Audience Awards at the Berlin International Film Festival, Newport Film Festival, Outfest Los Angeles and many more. Her sophomore feature, Cosmopolitan, starring Carol Kane and Roshan Seth, premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival. On the television side, Nisha directed Liz Sarnoff's pilot, Highland and sold a one-hour drama project to ABC and a half-hour pilot to NBC with Amy Poehler producing. She was the Co-Executive Producer/Director for, Better Things with Pamela Adlon and the Co-Executive Producer/Director for You Me Her. She also created Code Academy for the ITVS/PBS series Futurestates. Nisha has directed episodes of Girls, Dear White People, Future Man, Mr. Robot, Shameless, Married, Brooklyn 9-9, Last Man On Earth, Love, and Black Monday.

Follow Nisha at @NishaGanatra on Twitter!

Follow Nisha at nisha.ganatra on Instagram!

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Zetna Fuentes

Zetna Fuentes is a television and theater director. She most recently directed and executive produced the pilot and second episode of the new Netflix series, “Cursed” based on the illustrated novel by Frank Miller and Thomas Wheeler. Her recent credits include “The Deuce,” “Ray Donovan,” “The Chi,” “Jessica Jones,” “This is Us,” “Bosch,” “Snowfall,” and “Shameless.” Zetna previously directed on daytime dramas, “Guiding Light” and “One Life To Live,” for which she was nominated for three Daytime Emmy Awards. Zetna was born and raised in the Bronx and began her directing career in New York theater working on numerous critically acclaimed O-Broadway productions. She serves on the National Board of the Directors Guild of America.

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Lauren Wolkstein

Lauren Wolkstein is a NYC-based filmmaker originally from Baltimore, Maryland. In 2017, her debut feature The Strange Ones, starring James Freedson-Jackson and Alex Pettyfer, premiered at SXSW to critical acclaim. She co-directed the film with Christopher Radcliff, based on their Sundance short of the same name. Lauren’s previous shorts, including Social Butterfly (Sundance ’13) and Cigarette Candy (SXSW ’10 Grand Jury Prize), have played festivals around the world. She is also a television director who served on the directing team for Season 3 of Ava DuVernay’s critically acclaimed series Queen Sugar. In 2013, Filmmaker Magazine listed her as one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film." Wolkstein is a 2017-2018 Women at Sundance Fellow through the Sundance Institute, and she is a MacDowell Colony Fellow for Summer 2018. Lauren received her MFA in film directing from Columbia University and is an associate professor of Film and Media Arts at Temple University. 

Follow Lauren at @LaurenWolkstein on Twitter!

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Gina Prince-Bythewood

Gina Prince-Bythewood

is an award-winning director/writer/producer who is one of the most versatile storytellers working in film and television. Known for her authentic character-driven work, Prince-Bythewood has directed and written such influential feature films as “Love & Basketball,” “The Secret Life of Bees,” and “Beyond The Lights.” Upcoming from Prince-Bythewood is the action drama feature, “The Old Guard,” which she directs and stars Charlize Theron and Kiki Layne.  A Netflix original feature, it is based on the popular comic book series created by author Greg Rucka and illustrator Leandro Fernández.  Other recent credits for Prince-Bythewood include the special event series, “Shots Fired,” which she and her husband Reggie Rock Bythewood served as Series Creators and Executive Producers.   The ten-hour series for Fox, examined the dangerous aftermath of two racially charged shootings in a small Southern town.  In addition, Prince-Bythewood directed the pilot for Marvel’s “Cloak & Dagger,” which launched to strong reviews and viewers, starring breakout actors Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph as two teenagers with newly acquired superpowers who are mysteriously linked to one another.  An advocate for equal representation in film, Prince-Bythewood funds a scholarship for African American students in the film program at UCLA, her alma mater.

With her latest film The Old Guard, she broke all records for the highest viewership on Netflix, and nearly a year later the film is still in the top five of all time.

Follow Gina at @GPBmadeit on Twitter!

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Alison Emilio

Alison Emilio is a producer and executive with over 25 years of experience leading entertainment marketing, communications, branding, strategic partnerships, media relations, fundraising, curation, signature event and conference programming, business development, and cultural arts advocacy in the U.S. and Canada.

From 2016 to October 2020, Alison served as Director of ReFrame, a partnership between Sundance Institute and WIF Los Angeles, to advance representation and gender equity in film, TV, and media where she was instrumental in launching and growing ReFrame programs, the ReFrame Stamp for Gender Balanced Production, sponsorship, and coalition of industry Ambassadors, unions, guilds, and corporate partners. She is currently serving her fourth year as Adjunct Faculty at Carnegie Mellon University for their Masters in Entertainment Industry Management (MEIM) Program and also sits on the advisory boards for New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT), Mind The Gap (California Film Institute), Horizon Award, Fusion Film Festival, Diverso, and WScripted.

Her executive marketing positions in Toronto, New York and Los Angeles include New Line Cinema as Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications. She established the U.S. office of the Ontario Media Development Corporation (now Ontario Creates) and was responsible for generating over $150M in production revenues.

Alison served as VP, Marketing and Strategic Partnerships for CreativeFuture as part of a leadership team behind a strategy to re-position and re-launch a creative rights advocacy organization while expanding its coalition and membership, establishing strategic partnerships, and advancing the organization as an independent voice to advocate for artists rights.

Alison serves on the Horizon Award Advisory Board alongside founders Cassian Elwes, Lynette Howell Taylor, and Christine Vachon, whose mission is to advance gender parity in media and provide mentorship for the next generation of female-identifying and non-binary filmmakers. Alison has served as Award Producer from 2015 – 2020 at the Sundance Film Festival.

Follow Alison at @alisonemilio on Twitter!

Hanelle Culpepper

Hanelle Culpepper is an award-winning director whose credits range from superhero action adventures, to thrillers, to character-driven dramas. In 2019, she was chosen to direct the pilot for Star Trek: Picard, making her the first woman to launch a new Star Trek series in its 53-year history. Hanelle earned her B.A. from Lake Forest College and her M.A. from USC's Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. After working for Oscar-winning screenwriter/director Callie Khouri, Hanelle participated in the AFI's Directing Workshop for Women. Her DWW short A Single Rose screened at film festivals worldwide, including the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. Hanelle has helmed multiple independent thrillers, including Murder on the 13th Floor starring Tessa Thompson. Participating in NBC Universal’s Directing Initiative led to an episodic directing role for Parenthood, and to subsequent television work on Counterpart, Mayans M.C., Criminal Minds, Grimm, American Crime, The Flash, and Gotham.  In 2015, Hanelle was nominated for an Image Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, and was announced as one of the first directors in the ReFrame Rise mentorship program. She just directed an episode for the new season of NOS4A2, and is currently attached for the pilot of a reimagining of the 70s cult classic TV series Kung Fu, and has a number of films in development.

Follow Hanelle at @Hillview798 on Twitter!

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Rosemary Rodriguez

Rosemary Rodriguez has built a career working on both her own features and in episodic television. Rosemary has won awards for independent features Acts of Worship and Silver Skies, which she both wrote and directed, and has become one of the go-to guest directors on the small screen.  Her credits include Rise, The Walking Dead, Jessica Jones, The Good Wife, and Elementary among many more. Currently she is executive producer and director of three episodes of the brand new Apple TV+ show Home Before Dark. Created by Dana Fox and Dara Resnik, it stars Brooklynn Price and Jim Sturgess as an amateur sleuth and her dad, and it’s based on the real life of young journalist Hilde Lysiak.

Follow Angela at @rosemarydirects on Twitter!

Follow Rosemary on rosemarydirects on Instagram!

Jen McGowan

Jen McGowan’s most recent feature film as director, the survival thriller Rust Creek, was released in theaters January 2019 by IFC Midnight, and hailed as “the feminist thriller Hollywood needs right now” by Harpers Bazaar. McGowan's first feature Kelly and Cal, starring Juliette Lewis and Cybill Shepherd, premiered at SXSW, where she won the Gamechanger Award. The film was released theatrically by IFC Films to rave reviews.  In partnership with Level Forward, she is the creator of Glass Elevator, an international skill-sharing, networking & jobs resource for professional women in film & television. With over 4000 members, Glass Elevator was named Best in LA by LA Weekly, is part of the Sundance Women’s Initiative Resource, and was featured in Forbes. Take the Lead Foundation identified McGowan one of 50 Women Who Will Change the World in Media & Entertainment, and WeForShe selected her for the 2019 DirectHer program. A Film Independent Fellow, finalist for the Clint Eastwood Filmmakers Award, and recipient of the AWD Breakout Award for Excellence in Directing, she was named one of Vulture’s Women Directors Hollywood Should Be Hiring. McGowan made her scripted television directorial debut with an episode of The Purge for Blumhouse, is currently has several projects in development, and is a director on the upcoming season 2 of The Twilight Zone.

Follow Jen at @IAmJenMcG on Twitter!

C Fitz

C. Fitz is an accomplished film and television director, producer and writer, as well as marketing professional. As a filmmaker, TV showrunner and television director, she has won multiple awards for her scripted and unscripted work, as well as developed TV series, including Bravo’s Queer Eye for The Straight Guy, and ABC Family’s Knock First. Fitz directed, produced, and co-wrote her latest feature documentary Jewel’s Catch One, which is now streaming on Netflix and distributed by Ava DuVernay’s company ARRAY. In her digital work, she has produced award-winning social media branding content, winning four Webby Awards for creative digital campaigns. Recently Fitz directed on Season 4 of Ava DuVernay’s Queen Sugar for OWN. Currently she has features, scripted series and documentary films in development while also pursuing episodic scripted directing.

Follow C at @CFitz_ on Twitter!